N+I: Security news focuses on wireless, Web services

A host of new products promising to secure wireless networks and Web services deployments will be on prominent display in Las Vegas this week as the NetWorld+Interop 2003 (N+I) show kicks off.

N+I highlights networking technologies for enterprises and runs from April 27 through May 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, bringing together many of the world’s biggest technology vendors with representatives from industry, government and military, according to Key3Media Group Inc., which runs the show.

With the rapid adoption of wireless LAN (WLAN) technology in homes and enterprises, a number of companies are exhibiting products that strengthen the security of WLANs, a top concern for attendees at this year’s show, according to Key3Media.

In an announcement with a significant impact on the burgeoning wireless technology industry, the Wi-Fi Alliance said on Thursday that it would use the N+I show in Las Vegas to unveil its latest certification for wireless LAN devices, WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access).

WPA is intended to replace the widely deployed Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) security technology, which was found to have weaknesses that made products using WEP vulnerable to attack. WPA is a specification covering security features that increase data protection and access control on WLANs while ensuring interoperability among different wireless hardware and software, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance. It includes technology borrowed from the as-yet unreleased 802.11i wireless security standard and will be able to run on existing 802.11a and 802.11b hardware as a software upgrade, according to the Alliance.

The group will announce on Tuesday the first products it has certified as WPA-compliant. The first WPA products will be available in May, it said.

Security is a key element of several next-generation WLAN offerings at the show, including an integrated firewall, wireless access point and Ethernet switch from NetGear Inc.

The ProSafe Dual-Band Wireless VPN Firewall features a WAN firewall that supports two virtual private network (VPN) tunnels. It also has an intrusion detection system that can log, report and send e-mail alerts on attacks. Included in the device is a four-port wired Ethernet switch as well as access points for 802.11a and 802.11b and prestandard 802.11g.

Wireless technology aside, the growing interest in Web services among enterprises has spurred a market for network security products that are capable of protecting content shared within and between enterprises.

Forum Systems Inc. plans to unveil version 2.0 of its Forum Sentry 1500 XML security appliance, an enterprise-class device designed to provide a platform for the deployment of security for Web services.

The hardware appliance includes new functionality supporting a variety of Web services security standards such as Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), XML Digital Signatures and XML Encryption and adds features for configuration and security policy management, encryption key management and transaction auditing and exception handling, according to Forum.

The Forum Sentry 1500 XML version 2.0 will be available for purchase May 15 starting at US$35,000, Forum said.

Also in the Web services security market, Tarari Inc. will introduce processing components for handling antivirus functions and parsing XML traffic for threats.